As a teacher, I like to think of myself as a reflective practitioner. I believe that we should always be able to give an answer when asked why we teach things in a certain way. Sometimes, the act of articulating a response to that question or a thought can lead us to question our own deeply help pedagogical approaches. Over the summer I have read some excellent research pieces and articles about the teaching of reading. I believe that I have a good grasp of the development of early reading. Last year my class on average made reading gains of 1 year and 3 months and 92% reached the expected standard in national assessments. I was really proud of their gains and I was also pleased that the parents bought into my approach and this greatly helped. Despite these results, I always ask myself, could I have done more? Is there a more effective way? Have I given children a love of reading?
I decided to reexamine the whole area of reading for pleasure. There have been concerns expressed that reading standards among teenagers are declining. At its simplest level, the research indicates that this is due to the lure of technology. Teenagers are more interested it seems in social media. Read more in the article below.
Over the past 40 years, the number of children who read for pleasure has dropped considerably, according to San Francisco-based Common Sense Media. Their study explored changes over time that were done in seven surveys and tests by public and private groups, reports Andrew Seaman for Reuters.
I am not against technology in schools or its use by young people. These tools are here to stay so rather than take a Luddite approach to this revolution we must embrace it. I do however want to exploit technology and improve reading for pleasure. ( I will talk about that at a later date.)
This podcast is an excellent introduction to reading for pleasure.
In the Reading Corner is a magazine programme for teachers, student teachers and librarians. This edition is hosted by James Clements. Professor Teresa Cremin (Open University) Mary Anne Wolpert (University of Cambridge) talk about the Research Rich Pedgagogies website.
Studies have found that reading for pleasure is more important to a child’s educational achievement than their family’s wealth or social class. But how to inspire children to ditch the tech (e-readers excepted) and get into reading for fun?